The Last Guardian has finally reemerged, following several years of cancellation rumors and silence from its developers. And while Sony is still tight-lipped about the game's long development period or how much the game has changed since it was first announced in 2009, creative director Fumito Ueda still has a clear goal: to weave together the best elements of Ico and Shadow of the Colossus in a game focused on friendship and cooperation.
Ueda, who once worked at Sony, left the company several years ago; he was originally slated to remain on the project as a consultant. Ueda will now serve as the game's creative director for a collaborative effort between Japan Studio and genDesign, his new studio. At E3 2015, Ueda took members of the press on a guided tour of the demo originally shown at the Sony press conference. Here, he explained that The Last Guardian will try to "take the best of both worlds."
"Looking back now, Ico was more or less about the cooperation between the boy and Yorda, a non-playable character," Ueda said via translator. "We've taken elements from that. Looking back at Shadow of the Colossus, it was more about the dynamic interaction with the giant creatures."
We've already seen a little of this in The Last Guardian demo. Trico is a massive, griffin-like creature that accompanies the game's young hero and can't be controlled by the player — though he can be guided through verbal commands.
"He's there to protect you."
Ueda said that the player is supposed to read the situation they've been put in, and try to use each character's strengths to move through the game's strange prison. The boy is weak but has a clever mind; Trico excels in strength and size, but is only a beast. As to what kind, that's sort of up to interpretation. Ueda called it a mix of a dog, a cat, a bird and perhaps even more — the only goal was to make Trico feel believable. Speaking about his past work, Ueda said that his work with Ico and Shadow of the Colossus has always focused on a sense of height. The Last Guardian is much the same, though Trico acts as ... well, a guardian.
"You have Trico the character beside you or to cling onto as a safety net," Ueda said. "He's there to protect you. It also helps the players to overcome the physiological stress of being on ledges like this."
The Last Guardian is heading to PlayStation 4 in 2016. Details on the game still remain scarce, though Ueda is confident the audience for it still remains.
"We think that it will resonate with a lot of our fans," Ueda said. "Adding to that would be the storyline, and we hope that players will enjoy that."